Opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party Denies Receiving Donations from Bourgas Municipal Councillor Benchev

118 POLITICS-OPPOSITION BPS-NEWS CONFERENCE

Opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party
Denies Receiving Donations from Bourgas
Municipal Councillor Benchev

Sofia, August 7 (BTA) – The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) firmly denies being financed in any way by Bourgas, on the Black Sea, municipal council Deputy Chairman Bencho Benchev, BSP Deputy Chairman Kiril Dobrev told a news conference in his party’s headquarters on Tuesday.

Benchev was arrested in Istanbul together with suspected Bulgarian drug lord Dimiter Zhelyazkov, and other Bulgarians, on the night to Saturday. On Monday Benchev was released from custody in Bourgas without any charges pressed against him.

At the news conference on Tuesday Dobrev said that in the Bourgas Municipal Council Benchev represents an association of pensioners which is a partner of the BSP group in the council.

Dobrev said that the BSP does not have a slush fund and that the party receives “a good state subsidy” with which the party supports itself.

Dobrev accused GERB, the major partner in the ruling coalition, of trying to bribe Socialist MPs to quit the parliamentary group of the BSP. “The MPs are promised five-digit salaries in exchange of the sole commitment of supporting the government in no-confidence votes,” Dobrev said, implying at least two such cases but declining to name the persons.

BSP believes that GERB is trying to buy the local elections due next year, by means of cabinet decrees allocating money only to municipalities with GERB mayors, and also to municipalities with mayors of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). The BSP cited a Council of Ministers decree of July 31, which – without coordination with all ministries and without a sanction of Parliament, released 111 million leva to municipalities. Dobrev said that 40 municipalities governed by GERB mayors receive nearly 73 million leva, 34 municipalities with MRF mayors get about 28 million leva, and only five municipalities with BSP mayors get 2.2 million leva. The BSP has calculated that the money allocated to municipalities since the start of the year stands at 360 million leva, out of which only eight million leva were given to municipalities with BSP mayors.

The BSP will ask the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria to come up with an opinion on the matter, while the Finance Ministry will be approached to reveal the criteria according to which the municipalities recipients of the money are chosen. LY/ZH//